It appears that Carlos Beltran’s trade value is finally moving in an upward direction for the New York Mets. Beltran is unlikely to return to the Mets for the 2012 MLB season, leading to an obvious involvement in recent trade rumors. The problem had been that Beltran wasn’t performing as well as he once had, but with a recent streak of great hitting, there might be a market for the former All-Star now.
Beltran was recently mentioned by ESPN’s Jayson Stark as someone who likely wouldn’t finish the season with his current team, but it was hard to measure his value. Last year, he only played in 64 games, the second straight season where he missed a lot of time due to injuries. He was only able to hit .255 with seven home runs, and it seemed like the 34-year-old might have reached the end of the road. Now, through the first 30 games of 2011, he has a .292 batting average with five home runs and 16 RBI.
The Mets are just 13-18 after their Thursday afternoon win over the San Francisco Giants, and it seems like only a matter of time before a fire sale begins with that team. That include players such as Jose Reyes if the Mets think it’s time to rebuild, but Beltran is likely heading out of town much sooner than anybody else. The major question now becomes which teams could use an outfielder like Beltran to shore up their roster this year.
The salary for Beltran is a big roadblock for some teams, as he is due just over $19 million this year. It would be pro-rated based on how many games are left in the year, but that is still a huge contract. This likely means that the Mets would have to pay off part of it to entice another team to take on Beltran. If a good prospect is coming back, they should have no problem doing it.
The New York Yankees might be interested in adding Beltran to a lineup that has struggled to get offense from the outfield. With Brett Gardner hitting just .215 and Nick Swisher at just .216, the Yankees could definitely use someone with the ability to hit near .300. Depending on how long Josh Hamilton is out of the lineup, the Texas Rangers could also be another destination. There are also the Detroit Tigers, but that is a team that has to prove it is up for getting back into the playoff race before considering bringing on another veteran.
It is already pretty clear that Beltran will not finish the season in New York; it is now just a matter of time before a team gets on the phone and pulls the trigger.